Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and other progressive organisations began a dharna here on Monday, demanding a special package for Karnataka which is facing severe drought, and waiver of farm loans. The protesters have urged the legislators of the State to decide on these demands in the special legislature session at Belgaum.
The price of copra in the market at Tiptur in Tumkur district and Channarayapatna in Hassan district was at Rs.6,400 per quintal on Wednesday. This is Rs.100 less than the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs.6,500 declared by the Central government. For last few days, the price has been in the same range, leaving the coconut growers worried.The growers have been looking forward to the Department of Agriculture Marketing and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation to intervene and help them growers by setting up the procurement centres. However, so far, there are no signs of setting up of such centres.
Many progressive farmers and environmentalists have been calling for a ban on the cultivation of ginger, at least for a few years, given the crop’s impact on soil fertility and groundwater levels in the district. Office-bearers of farmers’ groups say farmers are ready to give up ginger cultivation in the interest of the environment and soil.Farmers in Hassan began ginger cultivation in the latter part of the last decade. Following a ban on it in Kerala, many farmers from there came to Hassan, among other districts of Karnataka, and took land on lease to grow ginger. Gradually, native farmers began growing the crop too.A.B. Sanjay, Deputy Director of the Horticulture Department, says, “Ginger is an undersoil crop and extracts nutrients and moisture directly from the soil. Soil fertility is the immediate casualty of ginger cultivation.”
Deficit rainfall and non-availability of water for irrigated land have resulted in an agriculture crisis in Hassan district this year. According to preliminary estimation prepared by the Department of Agriculture, crop on over 1.13 lakh hectares of the total 2.04 lakh ha will be lost. The final figure, however, is expected to go up once the ground-level assessment is over.“Our officials are still collecting data from the fields. Preliminary estimates show that standing crop on 1.13 lakh ha will be lost. The loss in terms of money is yet to be assessed,” a senior official in the Department of Agriculture told The Hindu on Monday.
The rejection of Karnataka’s interim plea by the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) led to public outrage and protests in various parts of the State on Thursday.Traffic was severely affected on Bengaluru-Mysuru highway. Members of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Hasiru Sene, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Jaya Karnataka, and Ramanagaram Advocates Association protested and burnt the effigies of MWDT for “neglecting Karnataka” and the Lok Sabha members “for failing to solve the problem”.
Residents of Harnahalli staged a protest under the banner of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha in front of the Excise Department’s office in Hassan on the day. They opposed the sanctioning of a new liquor shop in the village. The village already has one liquor shop and the villagers, who received information about the second shop being sanctioned, had submitted a memorandum opposing the move last month.